Summer has barreled into New York City with a vengeance, sending temperatures rocketing into the ’90s. It’s time to review some tips for keeping your hot-weather bicycle commute or neighborhood ride as comfortable and carefree as possible. Today, all six velojoy contributors share their personal advice on beating the heat. So strip down, slather on the sun screen, grab your water bottle, catch whatever breeze you can and enjoy the best way to get around town — on two wheels, of course — even as the mercury soars:
- Susan: Take advantage of that classic hot-weather city tradition of the open fire hydrant. Ride through the spray to cool yourself down and give your bike a quick wash at the same time. You’re going to get wet, so do this in your sweaty riding clothes. Also make sure the pressure from the hydrant isn’t so strong that it knocks your bike over!
- Genvieve: You know what wears really well for summer riding? A lace dress. The air circulates through and the look is great on a bike. Lace compacts well, too, so it’s easy to carry a spare. If you’re in a more casual mood, a tank, sports bra and some shorts work fine. For daily commuting here’s what usually goes in my bag: a nice work shirt, some pants and a set of delicates. I bring a small canvas bag to store sodden garments after I’ve freshened up and changed into my work clothes. I carry the bag nonchalantly through the office like groceries. Nobody has to know what’s in there…unless I’m inclined (get ready for the pun) to air my dirty laundry in public.
- Kim: In hot weather, I try to avoid exertion and excessive sweat by slowing down and preparing for a slightly longer commute than usual. Find a pace that minimizes increased body temperature.
- Neil: Not all routes are the same. A shaded, tree-lined street or waterfront path will be much cooler than a sun-drenched thoroughfare. I try to avoid dense traffic and sweltering exhaust from large vehicles like buses. Another tip: Stay off roads that have a fresh coat of black asphalt. Also, keep in mind that your body’s response to warm-weather activity is delayed, so it will continue trying to cool itself after you get off the bike. The few minutes following a ride are usually when heat mitigation makes the most difference, especially since the breeze will have disappeared. So, arrive to your destination early and give yourself time to cool off before changing clothes or rushing around again
- Christina: When it’s really hot outside I try to wear loose-fitting clothes made of thin fabrics. I choose short dresses and tanks that catch the breeze. That way, I can make it to wherever I am going without having to change when I get off my bike or worry that my clothes are sticking to me. Also, I leave my backpack at home on hot days. In warm weather, it makes my back sweat.
- Susi: I switch from my skate-style city helmet to my road cycling helmet. It’s not as attractive, but it’s really well vented, so it helps my head stay cooler and makes it easier for me to fix my hair when I reach my destination. During the summer, I also zip-tie a clip to the back of my basket, to which I attach a straw fedora. When I dismount and lock up, it’s hat, sunglasses, lipstick. Done.
Please add your own tips for beating the heat on your summer ride in the comments section below, and we’ll compile them into a future post!